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is there a "cutoff" point for historical fiction?

For discussions of historical fiction. Threads that do not relate to historical fiction should be started in the Chat forum or elsewhere on the forum, depending on the topic.
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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Tue December 9th, 2008, 6:55 am

IMHO, if you were to write about WWII, Donroc, it would not be a historical novel. You'd have to do as much research as someone born after the war (unless, say, your father was a fighter pilot, in which case you might have a leg up), but at ages 7-13, the war would have affected your life. You may have had to use ration coupons, for example, and you would have been surrounded by war news on radio and in newspapers and in the talk of the adults around you. You would have formed impressions of life during wartime that will still have an emotional resonance for you today. To some extent, these would color your writing about the fighter pilots, even though you obviously had no personal experience of what it was like to fly in a dogfight.
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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Sat October 15th, 2011, 5:28 am

A comment about Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca in the "Top 10" thread reminded me that the definition of historical fiction used for the Ellis Peters Historical Award (for best historical crime novel) is 35 years prior to the publication date. Gosh! In 2011, that would be 1976.
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Veronica
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Post by Veronica » Sat October 15th, 2011, 5:38 am

[quote=""Margaret""]....the definition of historical fiction used for the Ellis Peters Historical Award (for best historical crime novel) is 35 years prior to the publication date. Gosh! In 2011, that would be 1976.[/quote]

I personally find that very strange. With antiques they say anything older than 100 years. I wonder if there is an official "saying" for historical books as well?
"Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted"

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Vanessa
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Post by Vanessa » Sat October 15th, 2011, 9:03 am

It's definitely quite difficult to define what is or what isn't classed as historical fiction. I would class a story set in either of the World Wars as historical as they are part of history, but they weren't really that long ago. They're classed as modern history.
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Madeleine
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Post by Madeleine » Sat October 15th, 2011, 11:23 am

[quote=""Margaret""]A comment about Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca in the "Top 10" thread reminded me that the definition of historical fiction used for the Ellis Peters Historical Award (for best historical crime novel) is 35 years prior to the publication date. Gosh! In 2011, that would be 1976.[/quote]

That's ridiculous! :eek: :confused:
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Manda Scott
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Post by Manda Scott » Tue October 18th, 2011, 7:40 am

In the Historical Writers' Association, we have a definition that anything set or predominantly set in a time period greater than 35 years prior to the date of publication is a historical novel. So Dickens isn't, but Andrew Taylor's brilliant 'Lydmouth' crime/mystery series which is set in the 50s, definitely is...

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Post by EC2 » Tue October 18th, 2011, 8:29 pm

I would class anything that's not within the author's living memory as historical fiction. Of course if you're a precocious brat and write a novel when you're ten that might make 2001 within your ballpark, but yeah. If you have to write your work from book and archives and talking to people who lived it before you were born, then I'd count it as historical.
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Post by bevgray » Thu February 2nd, 2012, 11:13 pm

What's interesting is that authors my mother viewed as contemporaries (James Hilton, Warwick Deeping, Nevil Shute), I enjoy as historical fiction. All three are wonderful for giving you a taste of the interim between the World Wars and just after WWII. A reader can get a real flavor of the eras by reading the contemporary authors of that era.
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